Identifying relative clause

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An identifying relative clause, also known as a defining or restrictive relative clause, is a relative clause that qualifies a noun, and tells us exactly which person or thing is being referred to - in other words, it defines that person or thing. Without them the sentences make little sense or have a rather different meaning. No commas are used.


  • He likes people who are interested in sport.
  • Students who do homework get the best results.
  • A corkscrew is something which/that you use to open a bottle of wine.
  • The computer which/that we bought was very expensive.
  • The man who/that is coming will install the new programs.


You can use that[edit]

  • Do you know anyone who/that plays rugby or cricket?
  • Judith works for a company which/that makes computer software.

You can leave out that/who/which when it is the object[edit]

  • We went to see the film (that/which) Caroline liked so much.
  • This morning I met a friend (that/who) I hadn’t seen for ages.


See also[edit]

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